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The Greatest Issues to Do in Franklin, Tennessee: The Excellent 3-Day Itinerary

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When you’re searching for a metropolis stuffed with good meals, fascinating historical past, dwell music, and a few good outdated Southern attraction, then you definately want look no additional than Franklin, Tennessee.

This metropolis – situated simply 20 miles south of Nashville – has all of it. Civil Battle historical past to rival that of Gettysburg; a captivating Principal Avenue lined with impartial outlets and native eating places; wineries and distilleries to discover; plus proximity to rolling farmland and even the Natchez Hint.

Some individuals go to Franklin and the remainder of Williamson County as a day journey from Nashville. However you probably have the time to spend, it is a metropolis that basically begs so that you can decelerate and keep awhile.

Main Street in Franklin, Tennessee
Principal Avenue in Franklin
Old wooden barn and a white horse on a farm
Farm outdoors of Franklin

I’ve appeared ahead to visiting Franklin for years, and spent a pleasant 3 nights there not too long ago. Town was all the things it promised to be and extra, and I am excited to share this itinerary with you!

Technically you *may* do plenty of this in a single very busy day journey from Nashville, however I actually do encourage you to remain a pair nights in Franklin if you happen to can. It is not far in any respect from Nashville, however feels worlds away from the occasion ambiance of Broadway.

A quick historical past of Franklin, Tennessee

Franklin’s historical past as a metropolis dates again to 1799, when it was based by Abram Maury and named after Benjamin Franklin. Earlier than this, in fact, this a part of Center Tennessee was inhabited by Indigenous peoples – principally the Cherokee – till President Andrew Jackson’s Indian Elimination Act compelled most of them West.

(Fascinating truth: Jackson really met with representatives of the Chickasaw Nation in Franklin in 1830 to dealer that nation’s treaty; there is a historic marker commemorating this in the present day.)

Views from the Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge
Like most land within the US, this was all as soon as Indigenous land.

Franklin developed alongside each side of the Harpeth River, however was fairly agriculturally-focused up till the Civil Battle. (And after I say agriculturally centered, sure, a lot of the agricultural work in Center Tennessee pre-Civil Battle would have been using the labor of enslaved individuals.)

Throughout the Civil Battle, Tennessee was occupied by Union troops, and a serious battle happened proper within the coronary heart of Franklin in 1864. Franklin was devastated by the Civil Battle, and would not absolutely recuperate economically for over a century.

McGavock Confederate Cemetery in Franklin
Accomplice Cemetery in Franklin

At this time, although, Franklin is a fast-growing metropolis, thanks partly to its proximity to booming Nashville. Town’s inhabitants is on the rise, and plenty of firms (together with Nissan and a number of other healthcare companies) now have their headquarters there.

Add in a vigorous music scene and fascinating historic websites, and Franklin is now additionally a vacationer vacation spot. And it is one which’s value exploring!

Amanda at the Lawnchair Theater in Leiper's Fork
Lawnchair Theater in Leiper’s Fork

The most effective issues to do in Franklin in 3 days

This brief itinerary will hit up all of the Franklin space highlights like:

  • Civil Battle historical past
  • Franklin’s historic downtown and Principal Avenue
  • Nice native wineries and distilleries to go to
  • Stay music choices
  • Visits to Nolensville and Leiper’s Fork
  • An journey on the Natchez Hint Parkway
  • And extra!

Notice: This put up is delivered to you as a part of a partnership with Go to Franklin. However, as all the time, all my suggestions are based mostly alone private experiences!

Day 1 in Franklin

Morning: Historic downtown

Main Street in Frankin, TN
Principal Avenue in Frankin

Franklin has two distinct “components” of city: first, the enterprise district, the place all these firms have their company headquarters; and, second, the historic downtown that oozes small-town attraction, which is clearly the place I like to recommend beginning your go to!

Franklin’s Principal Avenue is lined with historic Victorian buildings housing all the things from boutiques to eating places. This avenue was designated a “Nice American Principal Avenue” by the Nationwide Belief for Historic Preservation in 1995, and is a part of Franklin’s 16-block historic district.

Main Street in Franklin
Principal Avenue in Franklin

Wandering here’s a should! I like to recommend stopping in to locations like White’s Mercantile (owned by Holly Williams, daughter of Hank Williams Jr.) and Landmark Booksellers, together with no matter else catches your eye.

Landmark Booksellers in Franklin
Landmark Booksellers

For a morning pick-me-up, cease in to Frothy Monkey or The Espresso Home at Second and Bridge for espresso; Merridee’s Breadbasket or Triple Crown Bakery for baked items; or Puckett’s Grocery or Biscuit Love for full-on breakfast.

Additionally be sure to make your option to Public Sq., the place you possibly can admire a novel venture that is come to fruition within the final couple of years. Within the heart of Franklin Public Sq. (on the positioning of a former slave market) sits a Accomplice monument that was erected in 1899 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

The Confederate monument on Public Square in Franklin
The Accomplice monument on Public Sq.

Attributable to state legislation, town of Franklin cannot actually take away the monument with out dealing with potential fines and lack of historic funding, so as an alternative they’ve opted to inform a “Fuller Story” of the Black expertise right here in Center Tennessee. Information boards are arrange on and across the sq. speak about all the things from former slave markets to the Battle of Franklin to race riots.

Throughout from Public Sq. and in entrance of the courthouse additionally sits a statue honoring america Coloured Troops. It acknowledges the 180,000 Black troops who joined the Union Military through the Civil Battle (some at this very courthouse!), and is the one statue of its form displayed on a public sq. in America.

Fuller Story info board in Franklin
One of many “Fuller Story” data boards
United States Colored Troops statue in Franklin
USCT statue

I really actually love this method to acknowledging and deciphering the previous in a significant means for guests, and encourage you to learn all of the markers!

Need extra ideas for what to see in/round Franklin? The tourism board has put collectively a number of themed Digital Passports that you may obtain totally free! Use these to discover all the things from dessert outlets to historic properties to murals and public artwork. There’s even a enjoyable horse-themed scavenger hunt good for teenagers!

Lunch: Drive to Nolensville

There are many nice eating places in downtown Franklin, however I extremely advocate making the 25-minute drive to the smaller city of Nolensville for lunch. This seemingly sleepy city is definitely one of many fastest-growing areas in america due to its proximity to Nashville, so go to earlier than everybody else finds out about it!

Right here you possibly can get pleasure from a filling lunch on the authentic Martin’s BBQ Joint. When you’ve ever waited within the lengthy line to get pleasure from their “complete hog”-style smoked pork at their downtown Nashville location, you will be delighted to know that it is a lot simpler to snag a desk right here. (My decide must be the “Redneck Taco” with a facet of their broccoli salad!)

A "Redneck taco" from Martin's BBQ
A “Redneck taco” from Martin’s BBQ

Afterwards, maybe cease at Mill Creek Brewing Co. to attempt a flight of their craft beer, or go to the Nolensville Feed Mill Amish Market, which is properly over 100 years outdated.

This Girl Can mural in Nolensville
You may also spot this superior mural by muralist Kim Radford in Nolensville

Late afternoon/early night: Manufacturing unit at Franklin

After you make your means again to Franklin from Nolensville, you may need to have a little bit of a relaxation – or possibly linger over one other cup of espresso, or maybe even a glass of wine at a spot like JJ’s Wine Bar. There is no have to rush on this itinerary, or in Franklin usually!

Within the late afternoon/early night, head over to the Manufacturing unit at Franklin, a mixed-use space inside a former range manufacturing unit that is been on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations since 1997. I like when outdated industrial areas are renovated and used for brand spanking new issues, so I actually loved this spot!

Sculpture outside Factory at Franklin
Outdoors the Manufacturing unit at Franklin

Contained in the Manufacturing unit at Franklin, you will discover all the things from boutiques to eating places to enjoyable efficiency venues. Get dessert earlier than dinner by grabbing a 100-layer donut from (the unique) 5 Daughters Bakery, a shave ice from City Sips, or a scoop of ice cream from Jeni’s.

For dinner, the go-to on the Manufacturing unit is Mojo’s Tacos, which serves up tasty Mexican fare that multiple particular person beneficial I attempt.

Inside the Factory at Franklin
Contained in the Manufacturing unit at Franklin

After dinner: Stay music

You may affiliate Nashville with nation music and up-and-coming stars being “found,” however Franklin isn’t any slouch with regards to dwell music. Head again into city to catch a efficiency to wind down your night.

Casual music venues in Franklin embrace:

  • Kimbro’s Pickin’ Parlor – A bar and efficiency venue inside a former home. Kimbro’s has dwell music 7 nights per week, with some nights being free and others having only a $5-$10 cowl. Mondays are jazz nights, and Tuesdays are singer-songwriter nights. Extra data right here.
  • Puckett’s Grocery – This Tennessee staple is a superb place to dine, but additionally has a small stage inside for normal performances. Some massive names have been found on this stage in Franklin, together with nation music star Jimmie Allen. Upcoming present data right here.
  • GRAY’s on Principal – Not solely is GRAY’S among the best eating places on the town, nevertheless it additionally has an intimate stage upstairs and often has dwell music on Fridays and Saturdays.
Musicians at Kimbro Pickin Parlor in Franklin, Tennessee
Kimbro’s Pickin Parlor is dwelling to intimate dwell music virtually each night time of the week in downtown Franklin. Photograph courtesy Go to Franklin.

Day 2 in Franklin

Morning: Civil Battle historical past

Franklin was the positioning of a serious battle through the Civil Battle, typically thought to be one of many worst losses for the Accomplice Military. The Battle of Franklin was a quick, livid, and bloody battle that solely lasted about 5 hours. It was fought virtually completely at night time on November 30, 1864, and resulted in 8,500-10,000 casualties (2,000 lifeless), with the majority of them on the Accomplice facet.

These numbers are fairly staggering (for context, the Accomplice cost at Franklin was bigger and deadlier than Pickett’s Cost at Gettysburg), and the entire thing is much more unimaginable once you notice that this battle happened IN town of Franklin, round regular properties and buildings.

Civil War bullet holes in a building at Carter House in Franklin
You possibly can nonetheless see the scars, like these bullet holes in an out constructing on the Carter Home.

The Franklin battlefield was not way back thought of one of many worst-preserved battlefields in America, however in recent times has been reclaimed and preserved for historical past’s sake. At this time, you possibly can go to a number of websites tied to the Battle of Franklin like:

  • Carnton – In-built 1826 by former Nashville Mayor Randal McGavock, Carnton discovered itself on the heart of the Battle of Franklin. The McGavock home ended up serving as the biggest discipline hospital within the space after the battle, and in the present day is dwelling to the biggest non-public Accomplice cemetery within the US. Together with visiting the cemetery, you too can stroll components of the battlefield right here, in addition to take excursions of the Carnton home. Additionally they supply a tour protecting slavery and the individuals enslaved at Carnton. Tour data right here.
  • Carter Home – This brick household farmhouse nonetheless bears scars from the Battle of Franklin within the type of 1000’s of bullet holes. Excursions right here inform the story of how the Carter household (together with the Lotz household from throughout the street) hid within the basement whereas the battle raged round them. Tour choices right here.
  • Lotz Home – Throughout from the Carter Home, the Lotz Home additionally suffered harm through the battle. It served as a hospital for wounded troopers following the battle. Excursions additionally run right here each day.
The house at Carnton in Franklin
The home at Carnton
McGavock Conferderate Cemetery in Franklin
McGavock Conferderate Cemetery

If you do not have time to remain in Franklin (or if possibly you do not have a automotive throughout your go to), you too can take this Civil Battle-focused day tour from Nashville.

Lunch on the town

You possibly can spend as a lot (or as little) time protecting Franklin’s Civil Battle historical past as you need. Afterwards, head again into downtown Franklin for lunch. (Some choices for you embrace Puckett’s Grocery, Biscuit Love, Mellow Mushroom, and The Grilled Cheeserie.)

Puckett's Grocery in Franklin
Puckett’s Grocery is a should a minimum of as soon as when you’re in Franklin!

Afternoon: Arrington Vineyards

This afternoon, head only a few minutes outdoors of city to Arrington Vineyards, a big vineyard that sprawls throughout 95 acres. Co-owned by nation music artist Kix Brooks, Arrington is THE place to be when the climate is good.

Picnic tables sprawl throughout hillsides, and you may get pleasure from wine tastings of almost 2 dozen wines. Throughout the summer time months (April-November), you too can get pleasure from meals vehicles on Fridays and dwell music on weekends.

Picnic table views at Arrington Vineyards
Views at Arrington Vineyards
Wine tasting flight at Arrington Vineyards
Wine tasting flight at Arrington Vineyards

That is a simple area to spend a soothing hour or two. Did you have got any thought there have been wineries in Tennessee??

Dinner downtown

You possibly can undoubtedly take your time at Arrington, and possibly decide up a bottle or two of their award-winning wine to take dwelling or get pleasure from in your lodge room later.

Head again into downtown Franklin tonight for dinner, the place you haven’t any scarcity of choices. Some eating places I would advocate embrace:

  • GRAY’S on Principal (and check out their Anthym Spirit, which was voted one of the best whiskey cocktail within the South)
  • Culaccino Italian Restaurant + Bar
  • 55 South (the Double Burger is absolutely good)
  • Crimson Pony
  • 1799 Kitchen & Cocktails
Anthym Spirit cocktail at GRAY'S on Main
Anthym Spirit cocktail at GRAY’S on Principal

Day 3 in Franklin

At this time is definitely going to principally take you OUT of Franklin, as a result of there are some actually cool issues to do close by that you simply should not miss.

Morning: Natchez Hint Parkway

Amanda with the Natchez Trace Parkway sign
Natchez Hint Parkway

At one level, the Indigenous peoples of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Natchez nations used a buying and selling route that stretched for lots of of miles by means of forested land in present-day Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi. Now referred to as the Previous Natchez Hint, this route was finally additionally utilized by European settlers, slave merchants, troopers, and others to maneuver items and folks.

At this time, this outdated route has been transformed right into a drive-able parkway managed by the Nationwide Park Service. The two-lane Natchez Hint Parkway stretches for 444 scenic miles, connecting the cities of Nashville, Tennessee, and Natchez, Mississippi.

Horses in a field near Franklin, TN
The Hint is a gorgeous drive!

You clearly will not have time to drive your entire Hint in only one morning, however you possibly can go to components of it simply from Franklin, together with the enduring Natchez Hint Parkway Bridge. This bridge is greater than 1500 toes lengthy and 145 toes excessive, and is certainly value seeing!

Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge
Natchez Hint Parkway Bridge

If you need an actual journey, you possibly can even ebook a motorbike tour that can take you on components of the Natchez Hint Parkway. I booked a morning e-bike tour with Pedego in Franklin, and had a unbelievable time driving 35 miles by means of Franklin’s rural farmland and throughout the Natchez Hint Parkway Bridge.

(And whereas 35 miles looks like rather a lot, it is tremendous straightforward on an electrical bike and will be executed in lower than 4 hours! You possibly can ebook the identical tour I did right here.)

Pedego ebikes on the Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge
Pedego ebikes on the Natchez Hint Parkway Bridge
Biking the Natchez Trace Parkway
Biking the Natchez Hint Parkway

Afternoon: Leiper’s Fork

After your bike or driving tour of the Natchez Hint, it will not take you lengthy to get to the little city of Leiper’s Fork (in truth, it is alongside the Natchez Hint Parkway!). This tiny city of roughly 650 boasts some massive claims to fame – many celebrities and nation music stars have second properties out right here.

Take a brief stroll down the primary stretch of city, and you will possibly get a way of why so many individuals fall in love with this place. It oozes creativity by means of artwork galleries and vintage outlets, and the entrance porches on each constructing invite you to tug up a chair and keep for some time.

Live music sign in Leiper's Fork
Typical scene in Leiper’s Fork

Whereas in Leiper’s Fork, you possibly can seize a meal at Fox & Locke, which additionally is a well-liked dwell music venue (it isn’t unusual to run into celebrities right here, particularly with the likes of Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton proudly owning properties close by!).

I would additionally advocate visiting artwork galleries like Leiper’s Creek Gallery, The Copper Fox, and the David Arms Gallery. You may also store for antiques at spots like Serenite Maison.

Inside Leiper's Creek Gallery
Inside Leiper’s Creek Gallery

And if you’d like a bit of style of the Tennessee Whiskey Path, cease in for a tour and tasting at Leiper’s Fork Distillery. This small-batch whiskey distillery is in a gorgeous spot, with a tasting room situated inside an outdated 1800s cabin.

Leiper's Fork Distillery
Leiper’s Fork Distillery
Tasting room at Leiper's Fork Distillery
Tasting room at Leiper’s Fork Distillery
Whiskey tasting at Leiper's Fork Distillery
Whiskey tasting at Leiper’s Fork Distillery

You possibly can both keep in Leiper’s Fork for dinner (Nation Boy, Fox & Locke, and 1892 Restaurant are all good choices), or make the brief drive again to Franklin.

Different issues to do in Franklin

Relying on the place your pursuits lie, there are additionally extra issues to do in Franklin! Some are seasonally-specific, whereas others will be loved year-round.

Some extra Franklin concepts embrace:

  • Go on a strolling tour – If you would like to be taught extra about Franklin’s historical past, there are two essential firms providing strolling excursions: Franklin Strolling Excursions and Franklin on Foot. Each firms supply historic excursions and ghost excursions, with Franklin on Foot additionally providing a meals tour choice.
  • See a present on the Franklin Theatre – This artwork deco theater from 1937 serves as each a movie show and dwell music venue. You possibly can typically discover some massive names taking part in reveals right here!
  • Attend the Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Pageant – Talking of dwell music, Franklin hosts the Pilgrimage Music Pageant every September.
  • Dickens of a Christmas – One other enjoyable annual occasion is Franklin’s “Dickens of a Christmas,” when the historic heart of town is remodeled Charles Dickens-style with musicians, distributors, and Dickens characters roaming the streets.
Crowd at Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival in Franklin, Tennessee
2017 Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Pageant – photograph offered by Go to Franklin

There actually isn’t any scarcity of issues to do in Franklin, Tennessee!

The place to remain in Franklin

If I’ve satisfied you that you must keep a minimum of a few nights in Franklin, then my high lodge advice is the Harpeth Lodge.

This luxury lodge is a part of Hilton’s Curio Assortment, and is situated proper in Franklin’s historic district, inside straightforward strolling distance to Principal Avenue and all one of the best locations to eat and drink. The lodge additionally has a restaurant and occasional store, and is tremendous spacious and comfy.

My room on the Harpeth Lodge in Franklin

Learn critiques on TripAdvisor | E book a room on the Harpeth right here

If the Harpeth is a bit outdoors your finances, different lodges outdoors of the middle of Franklin to contemplate embrace the Hampton Inn & Suites Franklin Berry Farms and Hyatt Home Nashville / Franklin – Cool Springs.

There are additionally some tremendous cute locations to remain in Leiper’s Fork, together with the Pot N’ Kettle Cottages, or this renovated stone cottage, and even this historic 6-bedroom home.

I hope I’ve satisfied you to present Franklin a attempt. It is the kind of place that is virtually unattainable to not fall in love with, with all its historical past and attraction.

Who’s able to plan a visit to Franklin?



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